It’s commercialized and it's cheesy, yet somehow finding unique ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day makes it better. For those of us who are single, this day comes with a sickening, “in your face, single person” sort of attitude. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t join in with the fun. Valentine’s Day isn’t just about togetherness for couples—it’s about love in general. If you want to get stuck in, here are some unique ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day.
We all need a little love sometimes. I am a bit of a volunteer addict. Over the years I have volunteered on palliative care wards, with Alzheimer’s patients, in homeless shelters. This is one of my favorite unique ways to celebrate Valentine’s Day, because it helps you make new friends and you end up with a new activity you can enjoy for years to come. This is something you can try whether you are single or with someone.
2. Cook Something Different
I know most people love to make reservations at an amazing restaurant, I just don’t know why. Most of the time, you will be packed wall-to-wall with lots of other couples. It just doesn’t feel romantic to me! I think that cooking something you have never tried before and setting the scene indoors is MUCH better. Sure, it takes more effort, and yeah, you may mess it up. But when you’re not trying to hold back on your heaves as the couple next to you goes a bit overboard on their public displays of affection, you will be grateful you chose to stay home.
3. Make a Love List
Making a list of 10 things you love about your other half is a great way to show your REAL appreciation on Valentine’s Day. You don’t need to stop at a partner. If you are single, try a family member or friend. This can be a bit of a daunting task if you’re addressing your partner. Struggling to think of 10 amazing aspects of their being is probably a good sign they’re not that great…scary.
4. Go Camping…
And switch off your phones. Don’t check Twitter, Facebook, or your texts. Just spend time with each other. As an Internet addict, I accept that this is scary. Fortunately, I live in Wales and am highly likely to drown from persistent rain if I try pitching up a tent in February—I have an excuse to not do this one. If you live somewhere with reasonable weather, do give this a go.
5. Skype Date
Some of us aren’t fortunate enough to be near the one(s) we love. If you have a partner who is overseas or across the country, for whatever reason, see if you can sneak in a Skype Date. I grew up in an army town (and by army town I mean the ENTIRE of our country’s army trains there at some point or another), so I have heard a lot of stories from the husbands, wives, boyfriends, and girlfriends of troops overseas about how sad they feel on Valentine’s Day. Planning this around time differences is challenging, but doable in many cases. Your meal might be better than theirs, but reconnecting will feel great all the same.
6. Have an Action Movie Night
…or comedy, indie…anything that isn’t romantic. If you are single and want to give Valentine’s Day the finger, do it in style. Or not, as I am about to suggest. Pull out some non-romantic films, close the curtains, order disgustingly fatty food, and spend the evening indulging. You’ll feel bloated in the morning, but then so will all those couples who went out and ate something tasty!
7. Take the Literal Approach
Valentine’s Day is all about the heart, right? Then take the literal approach to soothing it. Go to a fitness class, meditate, eat salmon, and enjoy red wine. Red wine is definitely good for your heart (*cough* in moderation *cough*). The aim of a literal approach day is to just be good to your heart. This is especially great if you are single, because NOBODY loves you more than your heart. Go on, show him/her/it a little love.
8. Paint Each Other
Even if you suck at art, painting each other is fun. If you have an inner expressionist side, you can even be abstract and just feel like it’s art. For those who feel brave, go all Rose and just take your clothes off. Anything I paint ultimately looks like a series of blobs. I still find it fun though, and it’s a great way to have a laugh if they turn out badly.
9. Donate to Charity
I like to do this on my birthday and at Xmas. I feel like I have everything I need, so I ask others to donate to a charity for me instead. One of my favorites is Maternity Worldwide, because maternal mortality is an issue I feel passionate about. Whatever you support, be it animal rights, rescuing sea turtles, or finding a cure for cancer, asking the special someone in your life to donate to a charity for you is a quick and lovely way to celebrate Valentine’s Day. If you are alone, donate one yourself!
10. Photo Session
This is in the same vein as the "painting each other" idea. Why not being a camera along for your couple's adventures on Valentine's Day? Capture sweet and silly moments, or, if you're comfortable with it, hand the camera to your sweetheart and enjoy a boudoir shoot.
11. Get Crafty... Sort of...
Scroll through Pinterest with your sweetie and choose a few Valentine's Day-related pins you're sure aren't as easy as they look, then set about pin-testing them. Bonding over predictably hilarious Pinterest fails is an excellent way to celebrate any holiday, really.
There, I said it. What? Karaoke can be fun! You might learn that your man does "Let It Go" even better than Queen Elsa, or that his Prince covers make you weak in the knees.
13. Scavenger Hunt
Please, don't go all "Gone Girl" on him, but why not plan a (non-psychotic) scavenger hunt? It can just be in your house or apartment, or around town, at places that have meaning to you as a couple.
And breathe. You don’t even have to celebrate Valentine’s Day if you don’t want to. But seeing as it’s there, I like to find a way to gain enjoyment from it. How do you celebrate Valentine’s Day?
This article was written in collaboration with editor Jennifer Knightstep.